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United States continues to have highest level of health spending
Date:9/11/2007

The United States continues to spend the most on health care when compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Health care prices and higher per capita incomes are major factors for higher U.S. spending, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Princeton University. Compared to the average OECD country in 2004, the United States has fewer health resourcesphysicians, nurses and hospital bedsand lower utilization of these resources. Health spending for chronic health issues, such as obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking, also contributes to high health spending in the United States. The study is published in the September/October 2007 issue of Health Affairs.

We spend so much more money on health care in the United States than other industrialized countries primarily because our prices are so much higher, said lead author of the study, Gerard Anderson, PhD, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Using 2004 data, which is the most recent available, the researchers report the following key study results:

  • U.S. health care spending per capita was 2.5 times greater than the median OECD country.
  • The United States spent 15.3% of our gross domestic product on health care, which is substantially higher than any other OECD country.
  • U.S. growth in health care spending per capita from 1994 to 2004 was similar to the OECD median.
  • The United States has promoted policies to reduce the number of hospital days as a way to contain costs. It is now ranked fourth highest among OECD countries for hospital spending per capita.
  • The United States spent 3.6 times what the median OECD country spent in 2004 for outpatient care. Most of the difference between the United States and other countries is attributable to higher spending on physician servic
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Contact: Kenna L. Lowe
paffairs@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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